These past two weeks it’s been hanami time. Hanami is the time of year when the famed cherry blossoms bloom; during this time everyone and their mother goes out picnicking, drinking, and enjoying the atmosphere. It’s a wonderful wonderful time. I’ve been to two hanami parties this year: one in the Kyoto castle gardens with Mariko and Alex, and a big barbecue at a nearby shrine with my softball circle. And although I enjoyed hanging out with Mariko and Alex hanami is best when experienced in a large group. Everyone was laughing and drinking and having fun- I made so many new Japanese friends, ate tons and tons of barbecue, and even got to play volleyball with some drunk grandpas. That was pretty funny (^_^)I made good friends with one girl in particular, Mae. She sat next to me and we managed to hash out a pretty decent two-hour conversation in English and Japanese! Turns out once I relax around people I’m not bad at speaking. We traded pictures and phone numbers, and hopefully we’ll hang out soon.
I went to see my second cousin today. She lives on the far end of Osaka, but I had to head up to Kobe in order to meet her, as her sister-in-law invited us to a concert at her church. That was…an exasperating train ride. I made it halfway and then got lost somewhere around Osaka city for 20 minutes. It was hot, muggy, and I was close to tears by the time I found the right train but I managed to make it in time for the concert. The church itself was GORGEOUS. The old one, built in the mid thirties, had been destroyed in an earthquake two years prior. The took advantage of the disaster to rebuild in a very modern style. The building is very open and airy- the chapel itself is a round base of blond wood (bamboo?), while the top is kind of an upturned colander draped in white fabric (I’ll post pics tomorrow). The effect is airy and bright, kind of like your in a bubble of peace. This, plus the opera music (and the fact that the Catholic atmosphere is so familiar to me)and the humidity soothed me so much that I almost fell asleep several times. Looking around, many others did the same-including my family (^_^)
Cousin Tami is really nice and funny. She and her sister-in-law were giggling like schoolgirls all afternoon. They took me to a cafe where we had lunch, and spent the rest of the time trying to break the language barrier and get to know each other. It was pretty funny, but we managed well enough. I’m even going to spend time with both of them (at both their houses) during golden week! (like a 2nd spring break)
…I’m sorry I haven’t written more frequently. I’ve hit that second-semester slump where EVERYTHING has become harder to do, no matter how much I want to do it. It feels like wading through taffy, so when I get things done it takes longer and looks sloppier. Including this post. It feels a bit rushed, not at all the way I want it to turn out but it’s been a week since the first hanami, so I don’t remember it that well. I’m going to try to write more often.
Anyway, I’ve got a presentation to prepare for. I’ll write more later!